August 2010

Charlene Abretske

Beauty Business Buzz | Charlene Abretske

 

More “Bang” for Your Buck

The door is open, why isn’t anyone walking in?” There have been hours or days where we have stood, looking at the door, wondering, “Where have all my clients gone?

Meanwhile, you see a steady stream of people walking or driving by who could definitely use the assistance of a beauty professional of your caliber. You see roots in desperate need of coverage and skin in need of rejuvenation.

So, how do you get yourself out of the doldrums and start moving to market your services without costing too much?

If your chair is empty, immediate action is necessary. When planning your action, start by asking yourself, “What do I have that I am not utilizing?” You may be surprised at the resources you have at your disposal at any given time.

Sitting down and brainstorming with others is a great idea. You may be unaware of connections that exist which could be extremely beneficial in helping to grow your customer base.

Here are six free (or low cost) ways to help you stop looking out that window and get you in action:

Ideal clients: Target them when you are on the hunt for new customers. Ask your best clients where they spend their money. Where do they dine, stop for coffee, purchase their favorite clothes? What services do they purchase on a regular basis from other small businesses? Target these places and get to know the owners and managers, perhaps they will want to work with you. Find out what these other small businesses have done to attract clients and begin cross promoting with each other. Start up cost = $0 dollars.

Email exchange: Send out an e-blast to your clients about an exclusive offer for one of the businesses that caters to your clients and ask them to do the same. Take a cue from companies like www.groupon.com to see what is selling for your geographic region. If you partner with a restaurant owner, offer your clients a free appetizer coupon and have them offer their clients a certificate for $10.00 off their first service at your salon or spa. Start up cost = $0 dollars.

Referrals: Referrals from quality clients can produce the most long lasting result. Don’t be nervous about discounting appointments as a reward for client referrals. It is an incentive for the customer to spread the word about your business. Referrals are not just about cards anymore. Keep handing out cards and explaining your program, but take it one step further. Use Facebook to post about your client rewards program, as well as to thank the clients who have sent you people. Market your services via email, asking your customers to forward the offer to a friend who needs to try something new. Take advantage of the fact that more and more people are plugged into communication with smart phones. Start up cost = $20.00 for business cards.

Fishbowl: Break out a “vessel” box: fishbowl, vase, etc. and put it in one of the businesses you are working with. Choose your offer: free haircut, free facial, free mani or pedi, free massage. Have a small form for name and contact info and ask for business cards if they have them available. It also helps if you offer services to the people who work in the business so your work can be showcased and talked about. Provide the same type of receptacle in your business for the company you are collaborating with. Check on your bowl once a week, and when you have one of those slow days, call and book their free service. New clients who receive a free service are more likely to purchase add on services and retail products. Start up cost = $10 for bowl and paper.

Monthly promotions: Your clients need a reminder that there is something new and exciting waiting for them every month, and they may need an extra incentive to stop by. Out-of-sight does not have to mean out-of-mind. A salon should be full of life and excitement, with something new for the team to offer and talk about. In order to provide the best customer experience, it is necessary to keep things fresh. Think of the purchases you have made because there was something to look at or ask about, as well as the ones that were made only because there was a marketing piece informing you of it. Start up cost = $0 dollars.

Retention: All of the work you do is for nothing if you do not retain your clients. You will become victim to “revolving door syndrome,” with new clients floating in and out, if you do not make client retention a priority. Make sure your team is serious about offering retail, and aware of its tremendous effect upon your retention. Rebooking is a necessary step for any marketing promotion and if you are in need of help in this department, make sure you get the assistance you need and a system implemented that works for your salon. Start up cost = $0 dollars.

Low cost marketing is all around you. Developing an action plan is most of the battle. Marketing does not have to be expensive to be effective. Getting more “bang” for your buck is about planning, setting goals and looking for opportunities that are right in front of you, just waiting to be uncovered.

Charlene Abretske is a business advisor with YBNLive and supports salons and spas with growing their businesses through on-demand back office tools designed for beauty professionals. For more information call (888)391-3360 or email charlene@ybnlive.com.